BRADENTON, Fla. – The South Florida Express took home the Southeast Regional IMG 7on7 championship on Sunday with a flawless weekend that only saw the powerhouse team see one loss in two days. Akeem Jones handled the quarterbacking duties for the Express and Dionte Taylor was his top receiving target.
Vernon Hargreaves had several interceptions over the weekend.
The Express is sure to be a factor at the IMG 7on7 National Championship in June and numerous players on the squad helped put together the dominating run but with 15 teams in attendance there were numerous prospects that helped their stock.
Vernon Hargreaves III is the No. 3 overall prospect in the nation. He’s going to be a standout at any event he attends. He will also be a target for other prospects at every event. It’s an opportunity for other prospects to prove themselves.
On Saturday and Sunday, Hargreaves took on all comers and absolutely dominated. Not only did he rarely give up a catch to his side of the field but he was hawking down footballs, making spectacular interceptions and battling receivers of all different sizes, skill sets and ability.
Hargreaves truly has an elite tool set. He is a thick strong cornerback that made several breaks on underneath routes that would have resulted in knockout blows in game settings. The Tampa (Fla.) Wharton prospect is extremely polished with great technique and instincts and he also shows the recovery speed and elite athleticism to separate himself.
Hargreaves’ performance was a big part of Team Tampa’s run to the championship game against the South Florida Express and a runner-up finish for the weekend.
Though Hargreaves’ recruitment is still in its early stages, Florida and South Florida look to be two programs in good shape. With his father serving as the defensive backs coach at USF, the Bulls have a built in advantage.
Wendell Dunn did the most work as a pass-catcher.
The MVP of the weekend as named by the IMG staff was the South Florida Express signal caller Akeem Jones. A great-looking prospect with all the physical tools you could ask for, Jones was precise and methodical in his approach to the weekend making good decisions and some tough throws.
As impressive as Jones’ play on the field was his obvious leadership abilities off of it. He is a vocal leader that is consistently encouraging and focused on what is in front of him.
Throughout the weekend and particularly on Sunday, Jones’ favorite target on the receiving end of things was Dionte Taylor out of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School. Taylor did most of his work out of the slot and was extremely effective catching the ball and creating separation. Even in one-hand touch, Taylor was even able to do some damage after the catch and make defenders miss.
Also on the offensive side, Jesus Wilson and Wendell Dunn both made major impacts. Wilson is a diminutive slot type prospect that is tough to defend in space while Dunn is a big imposing prospect that lined up on the outside.
Up to now, Dunn has been recruited primarily on defense but after this weekend, it looks apparent that he has the most potential as a tight end. He has a great athletic body and was incredibly difficult to defend in red zone settings. Because he has almost no film catching passes as a junior, Dunn may need to camp in order to earn offers on offense but they will certainly come this spring and summer.
Defensively the Express was led by 2014 cornerback Marcus Leslie out of Coral Reef. Leslie doesn’t have great size but he was the top performer on a defense that was suffocating. In many instances, opponents were rarely able to get a pass off due to the blanket coverage. Leslie was one of the primary reasons for that success.
- Brandon Powell out of Deerfield Beach was terrific on both days but really stepped up on Sunday. Even after a big collision slowed Powell on Saturday, his high-energy style didn’t get tempered at all. Powell showed great hands, fantastic change of direction and a lot of versatility. He could project to running back, wide receiver or cornerback. The best part about it is that Powell is only a sophomore and he’s also a 4.0 student.
- Artavis Scott is only a 2014 prospect but he attacks the competition at the wide receiver position with the confidence of a nationally recruited senior. Already with an offer form Florida State, Scott will soon have the offer list to reflect his ability. Scott is a natural route-runner with terrific ball skills.
- Leon McQuay III was overshadowed to a certain degree by his teammate in Vernon Hargreaves but he was still a star in his own right. McQuay has the ability to play either cornerback or safety, he has a great frame and he has ballhawking skills. Not many safeties in the country are as fluid and natural in center field.
- Quinton Powell looks like you want a linebacker to look. The Florida commit has - great length, runs extremely well and is extremely effective in space. Though he looks very capable from the physical side of things, 7on7 is a showcase for athleticism in space and Powell passed with flying colors.
- Playing alongside Top100 safety Marcell Harris, Florida commit Keanu Neal had some of the more spectacular plays of the two over the course of the weekend. Neal has great ability off the hash to track down the football and make a play in the air. Neal also has the body that lends to a physical presence in the run game as well.
- Simply put, Reggie Wilkerson may have had the single biggest impact from the defensive back position of any prospect at this weekend’s event aside from Hargreaves. Wilkerson is a 2013 prospect out of North Marion who has ten offers currently but looked every bit as good as almost any cornerback you’re going to find anywhere. Wilkerson stated a strong case for a bump in the rankings.
- Hialeah linebacker George Williams found a way to make an impact from the linebacker position in a 7on7 event and that is not an easy task. However, Williams didn’t need his linebacker play to turn heads, he was doing plenty on offense as a wide receiver. Thick and stocky at 5-11 and 215 pounds, Williams was a dominant force as a wide receiver out-jumping defensive backs and out-running corners.
- Regardless of what his testing times are, regardless of what he measures out at, regardless of anything you can put on paper, Kamrin Solomon is a player. The 2013 prospect from Mandarin High School helped lead his team to the final four of the winner’s bracket and at times he seemed uncoverable. The kid was always open and didn’t seem to drop a pass all weekend. He may not land the offers from the major in-state programs, but he will be a steal for somebody.
- Jacob McCrary continued his emergence as one of the top receivers in Flroida for 2014 on Sunday. The sophomore out of Coral Reef is polished, athletic and has great hands. Teammates like Clemson commit Isaac McDonald and Lamar Robbins had their moments but McCrary was the most consistent elite performer for his Miami-based team. He holds early offers from Clemson and Kansas State.